Divorce proceedings can be extremely stressful, especially if you feel that you can no longer continuing to live in an acrimonious relationship, but cannot afford to financially end your marriage.

This may be due to decisions made earlier in the marriage for the benefit of the family i.e  if you have been a full time house wife or may have sacrificed promotions for the sake of the family whilst your husband has increased his earning capacity  during the marriage.

There are options available to you to allow a separation/divorce to proceed.

Maintenance Pending Suite

Maintenance Pending Suite may be possible depending upon your circumstances to assist you in the short term, where the Court can Order that you receive payments from your husband.

In Moore –v- Moore Boden J “It is designed to deal with short-term cash flow problems, which arise during divorce proceedings. Its calculation is sometimes somewhat rough and ready, as financial information is frequently in short supply at the early stage of the proceedings”

Periodical Payments

Periodical Payments can be ordered at the conclusion of Divorce and Financial Matters, these are payments out of the income of your husband, this type of order is known by the public as “maintenance”. The order for periodical payments can be open-ended or can be time limited, i.e they can cease after 5 years for example, this will obviously be dependent upon the circumstances of your case, as they can equally run on for a lengthy amount of time. It is interesting to note that a recent case SS –v- NS (Spousal Maintenance) [2014] EWHC 4183 High Court Mostyn J seemed to be limiting the duration of Spousal Maintenance, although in this matter the Wife still received it for a substantial amount of time.   This case is helpful as the Law in this area has been clearly analysed by the Court and a correct approach was highlighted when considering periodical payments.

In addition to being open ended or time limited there may be other factors involved which could bring about the end of a periodical payment order for example if you remarry or cohabit, if your husband dies.

In addition to payments automatically coming to an end, either party can make an application to the Court to vary a periodical payment order to increase or decrease the payments. When the Court considers this type of application they will need to consider the financial position of both parties involved in the proceedings.

There is also a Secured Periodical Payment Order which can be made, however this is far rarer and payments are secured upon an asset.

Should you like to speak with a Specialist Family Lawyer regarding a Maintenance Pending Suite or Periodical Payments Order the please contact our Family Team on 01212482850 for independent advice.

Elaine Collins Family Law Solicitor January 24th 2015